Do you work with any dinosaurs living in the past? 🦕
Resistance to change is one of the biggest issues plaguing many property management companies alike, and many property managers refuse to digitize their processes due to fear of change.
The COVID-19 pandemic adds another layer of uncertainty and challenge for property managers and building owners alike. In addition to ensuring that the province’s health and safety guidelines of the province are being met, property managers must ensure that building inspections are performed accurately and in a timely manner. Lack of accuracy within inspections can lead to millions of dollars in property damage and put the safety of workers at risk. With so much on the line, it is crucial that property managers and building owners find the most effective way to perform building inspections, in the most efficient way possible.
Currently, there is an inherent flaw with the way that building inspections are being carried out. For one, most inspections depend on paper processes which can be time consuming for management. Secondly, there is a lack of communication between the individuals carrying out the inspections and management due to these paper practices; as a result, when staff members see an issue it can be difficult to accurately and quickly report this to management. Lastly, there is no way to verify if a staff member or vendor has actually performed the inspection on site, as many of these inspections can be just as simple as checking a few boxes on a piece of paper. Digital inspection apps aim to address these issues and provide a solution for your business.
Challenge 1: Paper Dependency
Property managers and building owners face many challenges that are caused solely due to the paper format of building inspections. Paper checklists contradict everything that a property inspector stands for, which is to be mobile and communicate the status of the building to management in the most accurate and timely manner. Management and staff voiced their concerns on the amount of time it takes to digitize their hand-written inspection records. The time that they spend duplicating their work is time that could be put towards more important tasks. Ultimately, paper checklists are often misplaced, unable to be verified, and are overall unclear; leading to inaccurate inspection reports and greater time wasted.
Mobile inspection apps eliminate the idea of relying on paper through their automated processes. Digital inspections facilitate efficiency as they allow building inspectors to communicate with management directly in real time. Additionally, the centralized storage that these apps provide allows inspectors to sync notes, photos, and records which allows for a clearer analysis while also negating the need to transfer data from one form (paper) to another (digital). With productivity and communication being key elements in many businesses, it is surprising that many property management companies and building owners are so resistant to change and use paper checklists when mobile inspections apps make life easier. This can stem from a recency bias, as property managers may have tried going digitally in the past but found it too complicated; as a result, many property managers are reluctant to digitize due to that one experience.
Challenge 2: Communicating Issues to Management
The duties of staff inspectors go far beyond checking a box on a piece of paper. If an issue arises with compliance or building equipment it is crucial that they work alongside building managers to solve it. Paper checklists often lack key information such as a description of the issue, when the issue occurred, potential causes, and remedial actions, which are crucial for building managers to know to solve the issue. When the staff inspector hands management the inspection report sheet, all management sees are various check marks across multiple boxes; subsequently, building managers lack the necessary knowledge to address the issue. Inspection checklists are typically stored onsite, which leads to management being unable to access them at a moment’s notice.
By making the transition to digital inspection apps, staff inspectors can add updates in real-time and strengthen the communication channel between themselves and management. By having the ability to add a detailed description of the incident, staff inspectors can clearly communicate the incident to management; consequently, avoiding long-term property damage. Digital apps also allow property managers to generate inspection forms that are specific to the building needs and provide greater insight into the specifics of each inspection. Additionally, features such as the ability to add photos of an incident during an inspection allow management to gain a better understanding of what to do.
Challenge 3: Lack of Accountability
As a property manager or building owner it can be difficult to oversee each inspection being carried out in each building; as a result, it is nearly impossible to verify that each inspection is actually being performed correctly. Property managers often have multiple properties that require them to visit each property to verify inspections. Digital checklist apps eliminate this issue by allowing for ease of data access through the cloud-based servers.
Take Joe for example. Joe is a plumber for Bob’s Plumbing who uses a paper checklist system to perform inspections. Joe is on his way to perform an inspection at building #1 and decides that on the way he is hungry. So Joe decides to go to a coffee shop to eat and just checks off the inspection and gives it to management to save time. Management has no way of knowing whether or not he performed the inspection or not, they just see that so far everything is running smoothly in building #1.
Digital inspection apps hold staff and vendors accountable for each inspection. Features such as location verification allow any registered user to verify that the staff or vendor was actually on site performing the inspection. Additionally, the built-in signature function in many of these digital inspection apps is another way that staff can be held accountable for cutting corners during inspections, as it puts more emphasis on the actions of the staff member.
Challenge 4: Succession Planning
Building operators are crucial to a property management company’s success. It is critical that companies have standardized operating procedures, so when building operators depart the incoming operator is still able to perform inspections that are up to the company standard. Often what happens is that building operators leave a company taking important information about building inspections with them; as a result, management has difficulty teaching the incoming operators how to perform inspections. This leads to inaccurate inspections, loss of data, and more time consumed on training new staff members.
Digital inspection apps allow for property managers to centralize all data and allow for easy access for all parties. Additionally, digital checklist apps provide a standardized simple way to carry out inspections that is easily understood by all staff members. Many property management companies lack basic procedures when it comes to performing routine building inspections; as a result, property managers often see a big discretion in inspections across all properties. Digital inspection apps eliminate this variability and provide a standardized procedure necessary to perform inspections. In addition, what makes digital inspection apps standardized is the ability of customization. Often we see paper-based inspection checklists being generic and not applicable to the rounds that the staff inspector is performing. By using digital checklists, property managers can create a customized standardized checklist for each property they manage.
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Onsite HQ aims to provide a quick and easy solution to each of these challenges. Onsite HQ’s various functions such as customized checklists, location verification, centralized data storage, and an offline mode, allow for inspections to be performed accurately while holding staff members and vendors accountable. Additionally, the centralized system allows for clearer communication between building owners and inspectors about key issues.
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